IT’S WELL KNOWN that RV salesmen live lives of high adventure. Consider the case of Don Smith, the newly hired representative for EarthCruiser out of Bend, Ore. Last week, the gods that toy with salesmen’s fates decreed that Mr. Smith, 51, be dispatched from Chicago to Las Vegas to take a reporter and photographer, and the photographer’s damn dog, into the Nevada bush for an overnight camp.
Just like that, Mr. Smith found himself far into red-rock canyon country, the Logandale Trails OHV area, sharing bourbon and moonlight with two men and a 45-pound Vizsla, in a slightly used, still-formidable EarthCruiser FX expedition vehicle.
The term “overlanding” covers a lot of ground. In its basic and most accessible form, it’s camping out of the back, or on top, of a 4×4, a jeep, a pickup truck, with enough liquid provisions (fuel, water, beer) to spend the weekend off-grid. Let’s say you’re in for $25,000. Kick that up a notch and you will find a product category of overlanding campers, designed to ride on heavy-duty pickup chassis and capable of supporting amenities like a comfy bed (usually over the cab), a galley, hot water and shower. You could comfortably venture off grid for several days. Now you might be looking at $100,000, including heavy-duty pickup trucks; still, that’s a lot of backcountry recreating for the money.